Cystitis and Menopause: 5 Essential Coping Tips

Last updated 04.17.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 7 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.

As you move into your 40s and 50s, do you notice an alteration in your urine habits? Perhaps you want to pee more than usual, or holding your urine is difficult. Painful urine, abdominal cramps, and smelly urine may be your regular thing. If you are wondering what went wrong, it is the fluctuating hormone levels that have made you more susceptible to infections of the bladder and urinary tract. 

Studies show that approximately one-third of females have urinary incontinence and urine or bladder infections during menopause. In my experience, I did not have any significant urinary tract issues apart from incontinence, as holding urine would, at times, become challenging. Have you also faced such problems in menopause? Do you wish to know about cystitis and other related aspects? This article is perfect for you. I have included topics like cystitis, its causes, and management tips. So, let’s get started.

What is Cystitis?

Cystitis may sound like jargon to you. In simple terms, cystitis causes your bladder to become inflamed or irritated. Many people confuse cystitis with urinary tract infection. Though the symptoms are closely similar, both have some differences. Cystitis occurs only in the bladder, while UTI may happen in any part of your urinary tract.

Most cystitis manifests into a UTI, but not all of them. Women are more prone to cystitis than men because of their anatomical structure. Their anus lies close to their urethra. Moreover, they even have a shorter urethra, which causes bacteria to pass into the bladder quickly.

Cystitis in Menopause – Why Does it Happen?

As I mentioned, women suffer from cystitis more than men. In menopause, their chances of getting infected are even more. There are umpteen reasons for the same. Let’s look at them:

Low estrogen levels: Lessened estrogen levels are responsible for all the symptoms you encounter during menopause. A decrease in estrogen alters your genitals and bladder. It even makes your vaginal tissues dry and less elastic, making you more susceptible to infections of the bladder and urinary tract.

Physical transformation: A woman experiences many physical changes as she ages, particularly during pregnancy and menopause. Due to the weakened bladder or vaginal muscles, the urethra may get blocked partially or wholly. This increases the chances of UTI and bladder infections.

The impact of vaginal dryness: I already mentioned how reduced estrogen affects your vagina. It also accounts for vaginal dryness experienced by around 50% of postmenopausal women. When this happens, it could increase your chances of being affected with cystitis and other urinary tract problems.

The alteration in vaginal pH: A normal vaginal pH is usually from 3.8 to 5. This range helps to keep your vagina healthy, minimizing the possibility of fungal and bacterial infections. In menopause, when the estrogen decreases, it results in a rise in the vaginal pH, which is an indication of an infection. Under such circumstances, your susceptibility to cystitis increases.

What are the Symptoms of Cystitis?

Here are some of the common signs of cystitis to watch out for:

  • Burning, stinging, or painful sensation during urination
  • Dark, strong-smelling, or cloudy urine
  • Abdominal and back cramping or pain
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Feeling tired or unwell

If you notice any of these symptoms for long, do not pass it off as menopausal woes. You must consult a doctor at once.

How to Cope with Cystitis in Menopause?

If the hormones are affecting your urinary functioning and resulting in cystitis or other associated conditions, you will have to alter your lifestyle to manage them. Here are some tips to follow:

1. Take Care of Your Diet

Maintaining a proper diet in menopause to manage your symptoms is of immense importance. You should do the same when affected by cystitis or any other urine infection. Fresh fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and dairy products are essential.  Many healthcare providers recommend cranberry juice as a home remedy for cystitis and other urinary tract infections. A substance in cranberry prevents the bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, helping to lessen infections. Other foods to consider are those rich in vitamin C, which helps combat inflammation and infection. Taking care of your calcium intake in menopause is essential.

However, increased intake of the same results could increase the prevalence of bacteria in your urinary tract, increasing the possibility of an infection. If you are prone to cystitis, your doctor may advise you to lessen the intake of calcium supplements. Adding probiotics to your diet, like yogurt, helps to balance the good bacteria and prevents the bad bacteria from reaching the urinary tract. You should avoid foods and drinks high in fat and sugar as they may irritate your bladder, worsening your condition.

2. Manage Your Stress

Menopause leads to a stressful situation, while increased stress worsens menopausal symptoms. It is a two-way occurrence. When you are experiencing chronic stress, your body’s ability to control inflammation lessens. This often worsens the symptoms of cystitis. Try breathing and relaxation techniques to calm and soothe your mind. You may even seek a counselor’s help if you find it challenging to control your anxiety levels.

3. Be On the Move

Exercise helps manage several menopause symptoms, and cystitis isn’t an exception. Walking, swimming, jogging, etc., will boost bladder functioning and overall health. However, some exercises, like pelvic floor exercises and bridges, help enhance bladder control, effectively controlling urinary tract infections. If you are experiencing pelvic pain and discomfort due to illness, avoid exercising until you seek a doctor’s consultation.

4. Maintain Your Vaginal Health

Vaginal hygiene is vital for minimizing the chances of urinary tract infections. It’s always essential to wash your vagina well and keep it clean to maintain overall hygiene. There isn’t any cleanser as perfect as water for your vagina. You could even clean your vagina using a mild soap. However, avoid fragrant products as they could result in further irritation and infections.

5. Stay Hydrated

Maintaining fluid intake and drinking sufficient water helps manage menopausal symptoms, including urinary incontinence and other infections. Drinking water effectively flushes out toxins from your body, lessening the possibility of urinary tract issues. If you have cystitis, limit caffeine intake, as it could dehydrate and worsen your condition. The same goes for alcohol, especially when you consume an increased amount, which significantly aggravates UTIs and other infections.


How is cystitis diagnosed and treated?

When you go to the doctor with urine issues, he will listen to your symptoms and even want to know your medical history. He might ask for a urine analysis to check for pus, blood, or bacteria. If your urine contains bacteria, the healthcare provider advises a urine culture test to detect the bacteria causing the infection. Cystitis doesn’t require any imaging test. However, this might sometimes help diagnose what else is causing your bladder to inflame.

Treatment depends on the severity and intensity of your condition. In most cases, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. First-time infections subside in a few days after taking antibiotics—three days to a week on average. For recurrent cystitis episodes, you may need to take the antibiotics longer.

Does hormone therapy help with cystitis?

Hormone therapy is effective in dealing with several menopausal symptoms, including cystitis and urine infections, mainly if hormonal changes cause them. Always seek a doctor’s consultation before going for hormone therapy to know the kind of therapy and the dosage that will be appropriate for you.


The hormonal fluctuations in menopause aren’t uncommon. Taking proper care of the food you eat and your exercise needs will help you deal with most of the symptoms quickly. The same applies to cystitis and urinary tract infections. Maintain proper hygiene, and seek a doctor’s consultation whenever you experience symptoms that affect your daily life.


  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.